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Our marketing department prides itself on being boring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely our department at the office Christmas party that drinks too much eggnog and gets too familiar with the company Xerox machine.
What I mean is that we don’t try to jazz up our gloves by making them something they’re not. We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to understand what a glove is made of and the protection it provides. Secret additives exist but the composition of a glove should be clear to the user.
Where does marketing end and dishonesty begin? Today’s blog looks at the 5 red flags you need to watch out for when choosing a glove manufacturer to work with.
Unlike luxury cars, gloves are not inherently cool. So marketing departments have to work a little bit harder to excite people. One way to do this is by doing cool stuff.
Another way is to give fancy names to simple ingredients.
Like using a silicone palm coating to create a flexible glove with heat resistance but calling it “the unique Cohesion Crystal palm coating.”
Many industries, like automotive and aerospace, have bans on silicone products because paint won’t stick to silicone. Nowhere on the page for cohesion crystals does it mention silicone or to avoid using them near parts that are to be painted.
Customers deserve to know what a product is made of to be sure it’s right for their facility. A silicone contamination can cost millions of dollars and strain relationships between glove manufacturers and end-users.
Most safety professionals don’t have time to study every protective standard for each piece of PPE. That should be the job of the manufacturer.
Misrepresenting test results or standard specifications isn’t necessarily done maliciously but it’s something that you, the consumer, needs to watch out for.
For instance, there are two puncture tests that protective gloves can be tested for — blunt and fine. Your safety committee shouldn’t have to spend time researching the standards, it should be clear and visible on the product.
When a glove manufacturer misrepresents their testing results, it puts you and your workers at risk.
“Simple, clear protection specifications”
Science and technology play a huge part in creating innovative products. If a company is avoiding scientific benefits and focusing solely on buzzwords, alarms should be ringing in your head. Like in this promotional video for Kyorene gloves made with graphene.
Several general claims about graphene are made in the video — “it possess inherent properties beyond imagination,” “graphene enhances safety and protection” — but there are no specific claims, stats or benefits to it.
According to our research and development team, graphene has amazing properties in rigid, hard materials. But when graphene was added to a flexible glove coating in our in-house testing, the R&D team found a marginal five percent increase in performance properties. There was no real benefit to end-users with the addition of graphene, especially consider it costs nearly $1,000 per kilogram.
A safety product is only as good as the protection it can provide. If a company is marketing their product based on generic claims instead of solid findings, it’s an issue. Finding the balance between marketing promotions that’s backed by science can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
Being eco-friendly is trendy, companies want to present themselves as being ‘green.’ In the glove world, this is seen through creating environmentally conscious products, like bamboo gloves that are biodegradable and carry less of an environmental footprint than the alternatives. Typically, these gloves contain a high percentage of rayon and a small percentage of bamboo fiber.
This excerpt from Wikipedia explains why bamboo fiber is not the environmentally friendly option that companies present:
Since the fibers of bamboo are very short (less than 3 mm (0.12 in)), they are not usually transformed into yarn by a natural process. The usual process… uses only rayon made from the fibers with heavy employment of chemicals… The fibers are broken down with chemicals and extruded through mechanical spinnerets; the chemicals include lye, carbon disulfide, and strong acids. Retailers have sold both end products as “bamboo fabric” to cash in on bamboo’s current eco-friendly cachet…
This isn’t to say that 100% biodegradable gloves don’t exist, but a company should be putting their money where their mouth is when making these claims.
A company can tell you from sunrise to sunset why they’re the best. But nothing proves that as quickly as genuine customer testimonials. Not providing testimonials is a warning sign, but so is providing vague testimonials, like this actual testimonial from a real glove manufacturer:
D.C., Storeroom Attendant from a leading auto parts manufacturer
Not only is [manufacturer] more affordable and the products they offer of a higher quality, their delivery service is unbeatable. Our supplies are always here when we need them.
One or two vague testimonials is understandable — it’s not always possible to get permission from large companies like General Motors or NASA — but if each of the manufacturer’s testimonials comes from initials like “I.M. Fake” from “A really huge company whose name can never be repeated,” something doesn’t feel right. The manufacturer should be happy and eager to provide these. Testimonials are proof of a solid relationship and quality product.
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